Russian Time team mates Tom Dillmann and Sam Bird will start from the front row of the grid for Saturday's feature race in Hungary after the pair secured a front row lock-out - assuming that a post-race stewards' investigation into an on-track incident involving Bird doesn't change the outcome of qualifying overnight.
At the start of the session it was DAMS who quickly set up a one-two with Marcus Ericsson's effort of 1:28.709s proving four hundredths faster than the first flier from his team mate Stephane Richelmi, but Russian Time moved quickly to reassert their morning control of the timesheets with Tom Dillmann doing top with a blistering lap of 1:28.219s almost four tenths faster than his senior team mate Sam Bird.
A third of the way into the thirty minute qualifying session saw the shine go off the drivers' first set of tyres, and it seemed that no one was able to make in-roads into the top positions. Carlin's Jolyon Palmer posted a time almost six tenths off Dillmann's best as he slotted into fifth spot ahead of MP Motosport's Daniël de Jong, Arden's Johnny Cecotto Jr. and his own team mate Felipe Nasr, who had missed almost all of the Friday morning practice after spinning on his just his second lap.
The other morning spinner, ART's James Calado, was the final man to post a flying lap in the session to ensure that he was within the 107 per cent time of the pole sitter, but a mistake meant that the Briton was 1.4s off the pace. A lock-up on the following lap showed that Calado was still far from comfortable on the 2.722-mile circuit, although his time did improve to 1:29.128s.
Sergio Canamasas was unable to duplicate his sensational morning pace that had seen in on second spot, but his EQ8 Caterham team mate Alexander Rossi was able to post an impressive 1:28.851 to slip into second spot ahead of the mid-session interval for fresh tyres and set-up changes. Racing Engineering's Fabio Leimer also moved into the top ten, claiming eighth spot with a time of 1:28.922s five thousandths faster than Cecotto, but otherwise it looked set a quiet end to the session with the highlight being championship leader Stefano Coletti putting a wheel off the track and losing the backend of the Rapax #18, which ended up wiping out a polystyrene advertising hoarding as it recovered. Coletti will face a grilling from race stewards after allegedly failing to respect track limits during.
However with three minutes remaining of the session, Fabio Leimer put everything into one final effort which improved his time to 1:28.507s and allowed him to break up the Russian Time duopoly at the top; then seconds later Sam Bird responded with a time of 1:28.296s, just 0.077s off his team mate's provisional pole time and good enough to re-assert the team's front row lock-out. Felipe Nasr was also able to improve to fourth spot behind Leimer, but his team mate Jolyon Palmer's own effort ended up with his car running off the track, meaning he failed to improve and had to settle for seventh behind the DAMS pair.
Having secured the front row lockout, Russian Time will have been concerned to see the race stewards announce an investigation into an on-track incident between Bird and Sergio Canamasas. That could yet reshape the starting grid for the 37-lap feature race that will get underway at 3.40pm (2.40pm BST) on Saturday afternoon following F1 qualifying, with the 28-lap sprint race getting the green light at 10.35am (9.35am BST) on Sunday morning.
See full qualifying times